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Last edited 03 Jan 2021
Open to the Public
In August 2018, British artist Alex Chinneck returned with a new outdoor artwork in Ashford, Kent.
‘Open to the public’ appeared overnight, with Chinneck secretly transforming an unused building into a surreal sculpture.
The artwork, commissioned by U+I, a specialist regeneration and property developer recognised for creative vision and entrepreneurial flair, creates the illusion that the walls of a 1960s office building have been unzipped to reveal its interior. In doing so, Chinneck elevates the everyday structure to the status of an artwork, bending its walls and windows as if by magic.
Over the past five years, the artist has completed a succession of major street sculptures including sliding the brick facade off a three-storey property in Margate; constructing a full-size melting house from 7,500 wax bricks in London Bridge; creating the illusion that a stone building on London’s Covent Garden Piazza was floating in mid-air; and inverting a 37 m electricity pylon to stand on its tip.
The installation is on the Kent Wool Growers site, which is also home to the Grade 2* listed building, The Whist, and will temporarily transform a derelict building into a statement work of art, illuminated by night.
“We are excited to have an artist of Alex’s calibre and renowned reputation bringing his surreal sense of fun to a disused building and completely changing it overnight into a sensational talking point for all who see it.” said Cllr Mike Bennett, Ashford Borough Council portfolio holder for culture.
Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive at U+I said: “We have been involved in a number of projects in Ashford and have enjoyed working with Ashford Borough Council on the regeneration of this vibrant town. When we discovered Alex Chinneck was local to the area and producing such ground-breaking work, it was only a matter of time before we had to find an excuse to collaborate. Open to the public is an art piece that chimes with our own values as a business – that property development and regeneration should be about places for people – collaborative, inclusive and authentic.”
Instagram: @alexchinneck #opentothepublic www.alexchinneck.com
This article was originally published by U+I on 1 August 2018.
--U and I
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